With Larwill Place set to close and 700 modular housing units at risk the crisis is set to worsen, argues Jean Swanson. “We are [also] losing a lot of low-income units to fires, to rent increases, to demolitions for redevelopment, to scuzzy landlords who take advantage of vulnerable tenants to just lock them out (like at the Melville Rooms just recently), and because leases on the temporary modulars aren’t being renewed.”
Category Archive: Homelessness
This week marks one year since the tragic fire at the Atira-operated Winters Hotel. The fire, which occurred on April 11, 2022, was entirely preventable, displacing 72 residents and claiming the lives of tenants Mary Ann Garlow and Dennis Guay. On Tuesday, survivors of the fire spoke out, marched in the streets, and held a memorial for those lost.
We call on the Mayor, Council, and city staff to stop the decampment of Hastings and to instead redirect public resources to creating, maintaining, and preserving the affordability of dignified, non-carceral forms of permanent housing for encampment residents.
This is about context. And in the current context where there is no housing for unhoused people, calls to clean up the streets mean violence – displacement, dispossession, banishment, death.
On July 25, 2022, the Vancouver Fire Service issued an order to decamp the newly-formed tent city of people sheltering outside on Hastings Street. Every year the tent cities continue to grow as the housing crisis worsens. Unhoused people and low-income SRO tenants are now creating an alternative community of survival and mutual support on Hastings Street. Earlier this week the City and VPD began enforcing the Fire Order, with events on Tuesday (August 9) that can only be described as a police riot.
On January 13th, 2022, the tent city at C.R.A.B. Park beat the Vancouver Parks Board in the B.C. provincial court. Their historic win is precedent-setting. Two General Orders that the Parks Board passed banning overnight sheltering in the park were also nullified. How did we get here? What is the violent history of state repression and the counter-resistance that has led to this monumental victory? And where do we go from here?
The legalization of public drinking was top-of-mind for many in Vancouver in the wake of COVID-19 – but don’t be fooled. These “progressive” policies won’t be made available to everyone, especially not people who need an end to alcohol criminalization the most.